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Point Bonita from Hawk Hill. Marin Headlands. 2019.From RAW to Print: A Digital Photography Bootcamp Workshop coming up June 3-7, 2019. Print Purchase.


Welcome to the June 2019 Edition of the Photography Newsletter.

Approaching summer, like many of you, I'm feeling the pull of getting out and moving around the landscape. For me, that is likely the western US, which could be a long realm of possibility. Even in my homeland, there is so much to see and know.

This month's View From Here column ruminates on our Lighthouse workshop and a space anniversary. We hope you find the column interesting and will consider sending us some comments.


  • Life Form Exhibition on display at Stephen Johnson Photography.
  • Opened the new space exhibition in mid-March to be seen in conjunction with my current show “Life Form.” The joint exhibition is called "Other Worldly.
  • New Print Mentor Program
  • 2019 Workshop Program continues with these and other great courses coming up. See what a great experience students have had on Steve's Workshops by exploring Workshop Testimonials.

    Flora and Form. June 13-15, 2019

    Fine Art Editing & Printing Hands-on. July 2-5, 2019. Focusing exclusively on fine-art digital printing, Stephen explores the possibilities of printmaking using Epson inkjet printers. Concentrating on printing with color pigments and black/gray ink combinations on coated and cotton papers, students learn from the digital pioneer how he obtains his impressive results. Stephen covers workflow issues, color management, correcting color casts, adjustment layers, custom profile generation, editing, and inspection, as well as paper visual qualities and the challenges and advantages of printing.

    Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra. October 12-15, 2019.

    Death Valley in Winter. January 18-21, 2020 Transformed from a searing 120 degree desert in summer to January's mild 60-70 degree weather, Death Valley is filled with intriguing landforms, delicate flora, strange mineral deposits and expansive views. Mile high Dante's View overlooks the patterned salt flats of Badwater and the Amargosa River below (the lowest point in the United States). Badwater's still water in turn mirrors the blue and white Panamint Mountains to the West. The lunar landscape of Ubehebe Crater's black volcanic fields rise from the rolling desert at the valley's north end with the steep gorge of Titus Canyon and Red Pass to the southeast.

    Yosemite Valley in Winter February 7-9, 2020




Fine Art Printing Workshop July 2018.

Scholarships and Mentoring

As part of our ongoing commitment to photographic education, there is one student scholarship spot in many of our classes. Please pass the word along.

For discounted time studying with Steve, keep in mind our Mentoring Program.

With all of our busy schedules and limited budgets, destination workshops or classes become a challenge, but many of you still have questions you need answered, or feedback on some new work. We want to remind you of our Virtual Online Consulting Program. This service allows all of you out there around the globe to consult online live with Steve on technical, aesthetic and workflow issues using Skype and your webcam.

Our Essays and Tutorials from the past couple of years can now be found on our Newsletter Archive and some on Google Blogger.

We hope you can come by the gallery and see the original prints in the new Life Form Gallery, and the Exquisite Earth exhibition with its accompanying very special Exquisite Earth Portfolio 1. We invite you to join us on a workshop, rent lab space, or just say hello and let us know what you are up to photographically and what you might like to see us offer. We value your input.


Workshop Testimonials


Echium and Conifer. Golden Gate Park. 2018.

Echium and Conifer. Golden Gate Park.

9.5x14 Pigment Inkjet Print
$195 each.

Walking out of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival last fall, these back lit plants got my attention. The color version gave way to a somewhat more abstract black and white.

We're offering a 9.5x14 inch print of the photograph, matted to 20 inch wide board and ready to frame for $195, framed in silver for an additional $100, wood for $250. This print at this price is offered through June 30. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by July 15, 2019.

Workshop Schedule

From RAW to Print: A Digital Photography Bootcamp. June 3-7, 2019
Flora and Form. June 13-15, 2019
Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on July 2-5, 2019
Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra. October 12-15, 2019.
Death Valley in Winter. January 12-15, 2019


Linda Mar Bay, just down the road from Stephen Johnson Photography.


Speaking and Exhibition Events


Continuing Installation. Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA January 2017 onward. Make Software Exhibit

July through December 2018. Life Form. Stephen Johnson Photography. Pacifica, CA

Marin Photo Club. May 13, 2018. 6pm

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NEW Photograph



Lighthouse Wall. Point Bonita. 2019
Canon EOS 5DS R

Light and color surprised and delighted me as I walked around the Lighthouse.




Window and Surf, Pigeon Point Lighthouse. CA. 2019.
+-3 stop HDR. Canon EOS 5DSr.

by Stephen Johnson

The Bay Area Lighthouse Workshop

Our San Francisco Bay Area Lighthouses Workshop took place last weekend. We did battle some rain, particularly at Pigeon Point down the San Mateo coast. But the rain did give us more incentive to consider the visual possibilities inside the Fog Horn Building with its First Order Fresnel lens. The lens itself is amazing, and the way it fills the room with rainbows almost makes it a fantasy place.



Rainbowed Staircase. Fog Signal Room. Pigeon Point Lighthouse. CA. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DS R.


Up in San Francisco and the Marin Headlands we were greeted with much better weather and some great clouds all day long. Point Bonita always offers such great views. And no trip up to that area would be complete for me without going up to Hawk Hill for the view back east toward San Francisco and out to Point Bonita itself. The clouds blessed the scene with real drama. The entire trip out could easily have been worth it for that single Hawk Hill view.

My thanks go to all of the participants for braving the rain and making the workshop possible.



Bridge. Point Bonita Lighthouse. Marin Headlands. Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DS R.




Bridge and Point Bonita Lighthouse.
Marin Headlands. Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DS R.


The construction of these life-saving outposts is sturdy and very well worn. They are in constant need of maintenance and still frequently seem as though they are barely hanging on. The US Lighthouse Service took care of them with special attention until WWII when they were added to the US Coast Guard's already full palette.

The Fresnel lens at Pigeon Point is no longer on the tower because it needs major repair. As these structures have gained a romantic status in our culture, there is a fund-raising effort to add to the government funds available.



Point Bonita Lighthouse. Marin Headlands. Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DS R.



Trail Bloom. Marin Headlands. Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DS R.


How does one approach a photographic cliché? The Golden Gate Bridge, stretching across the Golden Gate is almost tourism hyperbole. But it got that way because it is a spectacular structure in a very dramatic location. Like beautiful sunsets, we photograph the obvious and well-known, not only the unique. The photographs are then usually personal memory jogs rather than art. But we still make them. We can't resist. And there's no reason we shouldn't.

All possible photographs of the Golden Gate have not been made, nor have all possible ways of seeing it been tried.



The Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DS R.


The Classic Marin Headlands View looking back at the Golden Gate and San Francisco. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DS R


Civil War Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco, CA. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DS R.


It was a beautiful day, sky full of clouds, with clear air from the previous day's rains. Our second day was liberating as we were not battling the rain, but even more so because of huge vistas visible from the Marin Headlands.

Of course, the Lighthouses Workshop was always partly about the vistas.


...continued top of right column of the essay


Don’t miss our new show, Other Worldly which opened March 17, 2019.

Don't forget to Check out our next workshops

Next Studio Workshop

From RAW to Print: A Digital Photography Bootcamp. June 3-7, 2019


Next Field Workshop

Flora and Form. June 13-15, 2019.




Apollo 10 Command Module over Moon. NASA. May 1969.
Kodak Ektachrome with Hasselblad.

Apollo 10. May 1969

50 years ago this week, Apollo 10 flew the last pre-landing mission to the moon. It was the first full rehearsal in orbit around the moon of all systems but landing. This view of the Command Module Charlie Brown photographed from the Snoopy Lunar Module on its way down to a mere 47,000 feet above the moon. A real challenge lay just ahead.

As Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan were completing their lunar module flight tests, they separated from the LM Descent Stage and then started tumbling in 3 axis in the Ascent Stage, 7 or 8 times in 10 seconds, creating real danger of losing control of the spacecraft. It turns out the both pilots, separately, had switched on/off a Command Module Acquisition Radar (Abort Guidance Control) that kept trying to lock onto the CM still too far away and could only find the moon. Stafford manged to get the spacecraft under control before they lost "gimbal lock" which would have left them without their location information for rendezvous with the CM. Some reports describe the event as near disaster as a crash into the lunar surface was likely if they had not quickly regained control.



Apollo 10 Lunar Module Approaching CM just after near disaster.NASA. May 1969.
Kodak Ektachrome with Hasselblad


Ironically, the event was similar to another near disaster the next mission commander, Neil Armstrong had experienced in March 1966 by Gemini 8 which started a rapid tumble after a docking exercise proving rendezvous capability needed for Apollo. Armstrong regained control of the Gemini just short of the astronaut's black-out speed and the mission was aborted for quick earth return.

The Color of the Moon

It may sound a little strange, but I've been giving the moon a fair amount of thought lately. Certainly this 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11's moon landing is partially why, as obviously my 50 Years of Space Photography exhibition. But it is more than that, as each mission anniversary comes, I go back and look at the mission photographs seeking a better understanding of the experience. As Apollo 10 was in May 1969, it's journey seemed to merit exploration this month. That fact, and some serendipity brought a few surprises.

The color of the moon became a question when building my 50 Years of Space Photography exhibit. I needed to edit the dark low contrast greenish high res scans I was able to find. The scans seemed untouched, but clearly had to be interpreted. From the famous Earthrise of Apollo 8 to the portrait of Buzz Aldrin standing on the lunar soil, the moon’s color seemed to vary greatly.

The color of the moon has since come up in many conversations, in my gallery, and at my visit to NASA Ames Reserach Center in Mountain View CA last week. I’ve also been wanting to dig out my set of reel to reel tapes of Apollo 11. Today I retrieved them, and also found I had made audio tapes of Apollo 7, 8, 9, and 10 as well. I had to test the tapes, so since this week is the anniversary of Apollo 10, I loaded it up and fast forwarded into the tape a bit. I happened to stop and play during a TV transmission 50 years ago this week, as they were about 2000 miles out on their return home, going 6000 feet/second. Suddenly I hear Commander Tom Stafford start talking about the color of the moon. I was stunned at the coincidence, and immediately used my 2019 technology of the internet to dig out that TV transmission to find the same words. Although the color of the moon is still a complicated question, here is what the crew of Apollo 10 observed





Moon. Apollo 10. 1969. Kodak Panatomic-X on Hasselblad.


On a related note, my visit to NASA last week connected me Dennis Wingo, the man behind the Lunar Orbiter Image Restoration Project I've described in previous Newsletters. Dennis has already sent me a newly restored, unreleased 1.7 GB file, which I made into a 35 inch print. I hope to be of help to the project, perhaps with his planned book, perhaps helping the project get the recognition it so richly deserves. Who knows?

moon print

In the 50 Years of Space Photography Gallery with a new print of unreleased
restored photograph from the Lunar Orbiter IV Thank you Dennis Wingo for sending me your file.


Check out my new 50 years of Space Photography Exhibition now joining the current Life Form Exhibition as Other Worldly for a mind-blowing journey from the living world close-up to the depths of space.

Come see the show when you can. Space and Awesome Life! A dive into cosmic extremes...

At Stephen Johnson Photography

Around the Studio

My friend Alex found an almost pristine deceased Dragonfly on our porch last weekend. I couldn't resist trying a focus-stacked photo of it. The detail captured in the photograph allowed me to see this creature at an intimate level of detail revealing a complexity that truly became wonder.



Dragonfly. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Another Dead Whale

Another whale has washed up on our local beaches. It appears to be a Gray Whale, and is the tenth that has come ashore in the San Francisco Bay Area this year.

These are massive creatures, their cousins the Blue Whale are the largest animal to have ever lived on the earth. We are so privileged to be alive on this planet at the same time. They do not likely feel the same about humans. With the carnage of our recent behavior, I’m always amazed at how gently they seem to treat us. Perhaps they are blessed and don’t have the big picture, maybe they know, but can nonetheless discriminate between those that wish them no harm. After all, their brains and hearts are massively larger than ours.

It is so sad to see these bodies, very hard to want to photograph, but I feel like I have to help document these tragedies. I do not yet know the likely cause of death of this particular whale, but it looked like it was beat up drifting in the sea.

It’s hard to keep in mind, that the few years we felt so lucky to have so many Humpbacks coming close to shore in Pacifica, was, in fact, a sign or stress and hunger that drove them into the shallows.



Whale Carcass on Rocks. Linda Mar State Beach. Pacifica, CA. 2019.
Canon EOS 5DSr.


Print Mentor Program

Many of my mentoring students have wanted help with their printing, often to make sure they can produce a specific print. Consequently, I am starting a Print Mentoring Program that sets up a 2 hour time slot and the production of a finished print, all with the tutorial video of how we did it together. Prints can be up to 16x20 and on either Hahnemühle Museum Etching or Photo Rag Pearl paper. Fee is $500. Email for more information and to set up times. 


please email your comments to us

Free Stuff (a few still left)

Last summer we replaced the Epson 2400s in our lab with their new P600s and consequently have some printers to seed to photographers in need. We were also given some Epson Canvas to share. These are available for pick-up to those of you on my mailing list. Let me know of your interest. I do want to spread them out among a few people.

We've had a few takers, but more are left. Take Advantage.

Epson Canvas Rolls 17 inch


1 Epson 2400 printer left


Equipment for Sale

Canon 1.4 tele-extender for sale.




The Stephen Johnson Photography Gift Shop

Featured Products



New Life Form Folio

pacifica book


lf book page

The Life Form Folio

As we are premiering the Life Form Exhibition, I wanted to have a collectible item and record of the show prior to the full book I plan. So, now available is the 36 page 11x17 wire bound book, 5 years of work from 2013 to 2018 exploring these magnificent lives.

  • Photographs from 2013-2018
  • 36 pages
  • 11x17 wire-bound book
  • $40

Preview and Order Here

Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog

pacifica book



ee book pageee book page

The Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog

As I've been on a roll on fixing bodies of work into POD books, I decided before the Exquisite Earth show could come down for new upcoming show, I wanted to create a printed record. So, now available is the 56 page 11x17 wire bound book, 5 years of work from 2005 to 2010 traveling this wondrous planet.

  • Photographs from 2005-2010
  • 56 pages
  • 11x17 wire-bound book
  • $50

Preview and Order Here

New Pacifica Book

pacifica book



pacifica bookpacifica book

  • 74 pages
  • 11x17 wire-bound book
  • Pacifica Trail Map
  • 32 years in Pacifica
  • Drawn from 10 years of calendars
  • $75

Preview and Order Here


Pacifica Land Trust Trail Map

Pacifica Trail Map by Pease Maps special to the Pacifica Land Trust.

11" x 17" folded
(free shipping) proceeds go the Pacifica Land Trust, a non-profit corporation.

I'm proud of my 16 years on the board of the Pacifica Land Trust, and happy to have Ben Pease's great trail map as part of our outreach to bring attention to the natural wonders of Pacifica.


trail maptrail map


Gift Certificates for Prints and Workshops!

Emailed or shipped with beautiful gift note card.


To Purchase



gift certificate

Life Form Note cards

5x7 inches (now in stock)



Click to Purchase

12 image Note card set with envelopes featuring photographs from Steve's new Life Form work.

Printed by Steve in his studio in very limited numbers on a color laser digital press


gift certificate

National Park Note cards

note card

National Park Color Note card Set
Stephen Johnson
12 cards/envelopes $20 set

From "With a New Eye" Beautiful 300 line screen offset reproductions with envelopes in clear box. A great gift.


gift certificate



Please come visit us at our gallery and see our original prints in person. The subtle detail of the prints and the beautiful texture of the fine art paper have to be seen to be understood. And while you're here, browse through our books, cards, posters, and specially priced prints.

We're happy to mail you a copy of our product catalog, just send a note to or call us.

We're located at:

Stephen Johnson Photography at the Pacifica Center for the Arts
1220-C Linda Mar Boulevard, Creekside Suites, 5-7
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 355-7507



Pacifica Center for the Arts from Linda Mar Boulevard

Studio Lab Rental

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Stephen Johnson Photography at the Pacifica Center for the Arts
1220-C Linda Mar Boulevard, Creekside Suites, 5-7
Pacifica, CA 94044 650 355-7507

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Last updated on June 2, 2019 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2018, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide